JOHOR BARU, Jan 22 ― The Iskandar Malaysia economic growth corridor has taken various efforts to outline bubble travellers, hard and soft infrastructure, and talent reskilling initiatives as part of its year-long core programmes to assist in economic recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said these high-impact initiatives will not only support survivability but also continuously boost the nation's economy.
“The government had implemented many initiatives to address the basic needs of the rakyat and ensure small businesses continue to survive during these difficult times.
“Today, I am pleased to see Iskandar Malaysia taking efforts to reinforce its focus on high-impact initiatives that will not only support survivability but also continuously boost our economy and protect the lives and livelihoods of the rakyat,” said Muhyiddin, who is also co-chairman of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), during an IRDA Members of Authority meeting, via online, yesterday.
Acknowledging the enormous potential of the region, which is located within Johor, Muhyiddin said Iskandar Malaysia should explore the opportunities in modern farming as it could be a key contributor towards the country’s national food security agenda.
“With plenty of land areas and investors’ interest in the region and a well-coordinated effort with relevant government ministries and agencies, implementing modern farming could turn Johor into the biggest food producer in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad, who is also IRDA co-chairman, said the state government wants to see the economy and Johoreans recover quickly from disruptions caused by the pandemic.
“With the initiatives presented by Iskandar Malaysia, we hope the local economy will get the necessary boost from the growth of local talents and businesses,” he said.
IRDA chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said many of the initiatives that Iskandar Malaysia is concentrating on was reflective of the aspirations in the national Budget 2021.
“These initiatives, combined with the region’s existing advantages in terms of location and resources, will further boost the region’s holistic ecosystem, making it a prime location for economic recovery,” he said.
Ismail said under talent reskilling, the Iskandar Malaysia Talent Innovation programme has been designed to carry out on-the-job training programmes to encourage deployment of semi-skilled and skilled local talents who have been retrenched.
The programme will also ensure less dependence on foreign workers by encouraging companies to innovate and re-engineer their work processes.
“The Human Capital Development Programme for Iskandar Malaysia Promoted Economic Sectors, meanwhile, will focus on niche and required programmes to cater specifically to talent needs and talent gaps, driven by industry demand in the nine promoted economic sectors in Iskandar Malaysia.
“As Iskandar Malaysia's Smart City initiative is a key agenda in the region, the Technopreneur Incubator Programme seeks to hone fresh graduates and unemployed graduates to become technopreneurs, while focusing on innovation and commercialisation,” he said.
Ismail said through the bubble travellers’ initiative, Iskandar Malaysia is aiming at targeted individuals who could contribute towards the local economy.
This talent force, he said, could be business travellers, international students or tourists coming from Covid-19 green zone countries.
He said however, these bubble travellers must still adhere to strict guidelines, such as arriving through bonded transportations and only visiting nominated locations.
For the 2020 financial year, he said Iskandar Malaysia is expected to record a cumulative investment of RM24 billion, with 75 per cent of investments deriving from foreign investors and 25 per cent from domestic investors.
The nine promoted sectors are electrical and electronics, petrochemical and oil and gas, food and agro-processing, logistics, tourism, healthcare, education, and creative and financial services
These promoted sectors contributed 43 per cent to the total investment recorded last year, he said.
“In the same corresponding year, investments in the manufacturing sector remain the highest among the nine promoted sectors, followed by logistics, tourism, healthcare, and education.
“Among the top approved manufacturing projects in Iskandar Malaysia in 2020 were Shimano Components (M) Sdn Bhd, Sapura Technics Sdn Bhd, SRE Power Technology Sdn Bhd, Baojia New Energy Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, Daiichi Seiko (M) Sdn Bhd, and Enics Malaysia Sdn Bhd,” Ismail said.
He added that since 2006, Iskandar Malaysia’s total cumulative investment stood at RM337.3 billion with China, Singapore, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, and South Korea being the top foreign investors in the region. ― Bernama